Hi! It’s been a long time since we caught up with you, and we here at Save KUSF have a lot of news to report about our fight to return community radio to the San Francisco airwaves.
First, San Francisco Community Radio, our Federally-recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation has filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission for a low-power FM (LPFM) station in San Francisco. LPFM stations are small stations with transmitters of 100 watts or less, depending upon the local terrain. The FCC created LPFM “to create a class of radio stations designed to serve very localized communities or underrepresented groups within communities.”
We’re very excited about the possibility of LPFM to bring the award-winning community radio broadcast at KUSF 90.3 FM for over 33 years back to San Francisco. We have heard from many of you over the past three years about how you miss our programming.
A few things you need to know about LPFM. First, because the signal is by definition “low-power,” it’s not entirely clear how many people will be able to hear us if we secure a license. LPFM stations are not allowed to interfere with full-power stations nearby, but can suffer the effects of interference from the established stations. Our goal remains to be heard by all of the people who used to listen to KUSF 90.3 FM and as a result, our sister organization Friends of KUSF is continuing its legal fight at the FCC against the sale of the KUSF 90.3 FM license. See more below.
Second, thousands of groups applied nationwide before the deadline on Nov. 14. Several applied in San Francisco, which has very little space for new stations. It’s not clear how many licenses the FCC may grant in San Francisco but it’s not likely to be many. Further, if multiple organizations that the FCC deems qualified apply for the same spot on the dial, they may be required to share the space.
We want to be honest with you guys regarding the limitations of LPFM. However, we also believe LPFM is an exciting new era in public broadcasting in the United States and are truly excited about the possibilities. We’ll keep you posted as the news develops. The FCC is expected to rule on applications beginning early in 2014, although applications in areas with room on the dial are expected to be ruled on first.